Annual India Tours
These lectures were transcribed by T Vd Broek. Heartfelt
gratitude is offered for all the hours of work spent on this Dharma activity.
These talks are offered free of charge. They have been slightly edited.
March 31 91
You put yourself in the most positive frame of reference you can. For example when you get up in the morning, you should try to think of the world in a positive light. What might I do in the world that would be good? And may I dedicate myself towards that. In that way, whatever comes about during the day, at least you are in a positive perspective.
For this evening for the meditation, and meditation is that time when we try to cultivate consciously something internal for ourselves, we should be even more conscious of our motivation. With that in mind, try to not only think of your own needs. Often when we motivate we think I would like to have this experience or would like this problem resolved for myself. Something like that. Rather than thinking of your personal situation, try to be broad minded and realize that just as you have desires for certain experiences and wishes to be free from bad experiences or situations, so also does the person to your left, the person to your right, the people around you and even those in the city and the world have similar wishes, wanting to be free of suffering and to have happiness. As there is equality between oneself and others in wanting and desiring the best and not wanting suffering, why should I think of myself alone. It is inappropriate. I should try to be more broad minded and try to realize that others wish happiness as much as I do. So I should try to work not only for my own improvement and situation, but I should try to work to also be beneficial and bring happiness to others, too!
I want to talk about something beneficial that involves what we do with ourselves when we are involved in any situation. By that is meant, in our life we always look for solutions, a position for our personality where we feel we can best assimilate and work with what is around us. You can literally say, to give ourselves the best perspective or the best position. Or to use another word, the best refuge or protection for what we have to meet with in the day to day events that we come across.
We do not normally think about this a lot. It is sort of a trial and error experience we have. We basically try a few things and if they work we reinforce them. Other things we have tried, like whining and crying when we were little, if we did not get what we wanted, we realized that we had better be more sophisticated to get what we want. The main point is, we have established for ourselves a way to protect ourselves from bad things, and a way to get what we want. And I will term that as taking refuge. We have learned how to put ourselves in a particular position.
With that in mind, we should try to be more conscious of what position we are taking and what is our perspective in the world around us, and then maybe to be more conscious about how we set ourselves up for experiences. Like I said with motivation, and it is even more so with this, is that the position your personality holds establishes how you are going to experience everything in life. If you have a very weak position, you will be quickly overcome or feel intimidated and then back off. If you have a very aggressive position or one which is very insensitive or negative, you will run against obstacles repeatedly. People will be angry with you, things will not work out like you might expect them too. And therefore you will get pissed off, angry, upset, hostile, manipulative, and so on. And it is all based on perspective. You can literally say it is based on, you have taken a particular position or refuge in a nook in your personality and feel that this place is positive or the best place for you to come from at all times.
What needs to be addressed, is to say, I am motivated or come from a particular place. All I need to do is examine the day's events, what happened yesterday, last week. Did I manage those situations well? Or did I have a few bad experiences? Did things maybe not work out the way I wanted them too? And if you can see in the last few days or so that you said things poorly that got your partner upset with you, or got some friend upset with you, or people you relate with in a general manner upset with you, or maybe you did certain things which made you unhappy. If you had anything like that, I would like to say to you that maybe you should question the position you are moving from or being motivated from. And then try to reassess if that is the most beneficial position to be in? From there, to try to be more conscious of where you motivate from and what is the basis of the actions you undertake.
This is fundamental to Buddhism. To try to be a more conscious entity. To be more conscious of who you are and what you are creating in the world around you. A Buddhist uses what is termed a symbol as to what would be a good position to come from, which is the Buddha himself. In looking at the Buddha, and saying the Buddha seems to have all areas covered. He is very relaxed, very in tune with reality, seems to have the capacity to resolve issues that come his way. Therefore the Buddha is someone who is you could say idealized, but I do not think that is a good term. Rather than that, as inspirational for our own establishment of a correct position for ourselves. That is what taking refuge in the Buddha would be. Looking at the Buddha, reflecting on the qualities of the Buddha or the realizations the Buddha has presented as a path to have, and then saying, the Buddha is of that quality of nature of being. In reflecting on that, I see it seems reasonable, and then for that reason I become inspired to emulate or create that level of consciousness within myself.
If we talk in regular terms, it is an appraisal of your position in life, an assessment of how valid a position or perspective you have is in producing happiness and freeing you from suffering. Having assessed that, then making decisions or corrections to it, or validating it if it is a good position to be in. Just simply to say, the enlightened entity has a fully equal mind. There is no partiality in the enlightened beings mind. The Buddha does not look upon one person better or worse than another. These people being part of his flock, and these others as not being part of his flock. So his first quality is equanimity. Another quality is complete love and compassion. They say even if the Buddha is harmed by someone, he still loves that person equally. He also has full power of self realization. There is no area of personal being where the Buddha is confused or unclear about. So the fully enlightened being has full conscious knowledge of self. And finally he has full wisdom as in understanding the nature of reality. There is no questions regarding reality as a conscious experience in which the Buddha does not have full knowledge of. Maybe nuclear scientists can crack an atom, maybe the Buddha couldn't talk about how you crack an atom, but regarding personal experience which is what we all come down to, the Buddha has full realization of that!
The point is, you will all take refuge in things as time goes by. Maybe one time you will come across a clairvoyant that blows your socks off and says interesting things to you. But I would like you to be conscious of the fact that in going to something like that, going to take refuge in someone or something, is to realize that you are admiring, drawn to, what that person has. And in being that, that is what you will start to emulate. That is what you will start to become like. If that is the case, I would highly recommend that you be highly conscious of what sort of position that person is coming from. The particular clairvoyant I was speaking of I think has a lot of concern over the money that is coming his her way, compared to actually being concerned over the welfare of the person.
So you as time passes take refuge in particular positions. Maybe one day you might actually highly spiritually inspired by someone. So I would like to say to you to be conscious of the fact that in that inspiration that you rely on people who are reliable and consistent and have not discrepancies in being. The enlightened being, for a Buddhist, you take refuge in an entity who is unbiased and all loving. In taking refuge in that,l you are wanting to become like that, a very wise person with equal love for all. The principle thing for a buddhist is that the Buddha works for your benefit from where you are coming from. He does not speak that he or she will get more money or devotees. That is not the issue. The issue for an enlightened entity is to bring you into enlightenment so that you become a wiser person. That your qualities grow. Like I say, that you become your own refuge. That you get the best head space possible.
So with that in mind, when you turn your mind to the options of perspective, for a Buddhist it is thinking of the Buddha who has perfect equanimity, realization, love and compassion, and perfect wisdom, realization of the full nature of self.
The main point is when you appraise yourself and assess your perspective, and how well you handle reality, then you should try to question from what point do you come from? What nook in your personality have you taken refuge in? Do you rely on aggression to get your way? Or manipulation? If you become more conscious of these things about yourself, try to become more conscious in not allowing yourself to develop negative habit patterns which only make more suffering for yourself. But try to develop a positive position wherein you look at the world questioning how can I best help that around me and also help myself? With those thoughts of not causing harm to others for your own benefit, with that attitude, you are creating for yourself a very positive head space, something beneficial for the world and yourself.
And if you are developing faith in the Buddha and in the spiritual teachings of the Buddha, then you are actually validating what the Buddha has attained as full realization for himself. In that way you can look at the Buddha in pictures or statues, you can gain inspiration by realizing his great qualities. You can say I have a very reliable entity that I rely upon and draw my inspiration from.
Meditation is to help us personally become more self aware so we can progress well on the path of becoming a better and whole person. To assist in that we can rely on meditations upon the qualities of an enlightened entity as that helps us develop ourselves and become inspired about our own personal growth. To do that in the best way possible, it is good that we become more conscious of ourselves. You do not think of the Buddha and then think of yourself as being a wonderful paragon of virtue. That is not realistic. Rather you should look upon yourself as an absolute creep! Closer to reality!
The point is, who ever you are is your own individual experience. Self awareness helps you become aware of who and what you are. From that position you should try to cultivate self awareness, the capacity to choose between what is a more beneficial a perspective or attitude and what is of less benefit. And once you come to some conclusions, try to settle on that clarity of mind so it becomes a more integral part of yourself.
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